Crater Lake is a giant volcano (Mount Mazama) that erupted thousands of years ago, creating a giant caldera, and forming the deepest lake in the United States.
Its also reputed to be the cleanest and bluest lake in the United States.
No boats are allowed on the lake other than the one run by the national park service, and it only has limited runs each day.
We were soooo excited to have our fist glimpse of snow here at Crater Lake.
That's right. Snow. In JULY.
My Texas family didn't know what to do with themselves. Besides a snowball fight, that is. With another family hailing from a southern state.
We had bought sandwiches for a picnic at the lake, and we found what I think had to be the best picnic spot EVER.
We didn't eat at the official picnic locations, because those tables didn't have views of the lake. I mean... why? Why would you want to eat there when you could be here?
That little island in the lake is known as Wizard's Island, which is its own volcano, cleverly forming a volcano inside a lake inside a volcano.
Our picnic here, with Carl and I sitting under a tree, and the boys on these rocks, looking out at this lake... wow... this will go down as one of my top memories of all time.
We drove the whole rim of the lake, which is 33 miles around. It takes a while, because there were waterfalls to see.
Falling rocks to avoid (and to wait in a non-moving line for 45 minutes while they cleared the roads from falling rocks.)
Visitor Centers for Junior Ranger programs.
And more unbelievable views to see. Look at those clouds!
Even the views of the other side of the road, away from Crater Lake, were spectacular.
Although just maybe they could have a few guard rails?
I'm so happy when reality exceeds my expectations, and it did here at Crater Lake.
What we didn't do - the boat ride. I was a bit nervous about the walk down and up to the lake, which they website warned you was only for the most physically fit, and that it takes several hours to go back up the steep climb (the rim is at an elevation of 8000 feet high, and the lake is at 6000 feet... that's a lot of feet). We also didn't do the official tour bus that gets good reviews. But it would have cost us around $80 for the four of us, and I just felt that money could be better spent elsewhere, and that the kids would be happier in their own car.
I wasn't able to get us a room for the night inside the park. Since most of the rim's drive is only open for 2-3 months a year due to snow, the times it is open the park is packed. Crater Lake is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, so our lodging options for the night were few and far between. The drive to Bend was long, but only about 45 minutes further along our drive than my first available rooms, and I thought Bend looked like it was worth that extra drive (it was). If I ever plan another trip out to Crater Lake, I'll definitely do my best to book at the one year mark for rooms inside the park.
But even without staying in the park, and without doing the bot or bus tours, we still felt like we had a good chance to experience Crater Lake. Its a true wonder of the world.
More about this Trip:
- Summer Vacation 2014: the Pacific Northwest
- Heading North to Willow Creek
- Redwood National and State Parks, California
- Southern Oregon's 101 Beaches
- The Beautiful Rogue River
- Riding the Oregon Dunes
- The Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway